Tag Archives: dinner

Diary: Festive Goodtimes at Tsuchida Cottage (w/ drum set and banquet & pals)

3 of us, always

This re-cap *should* be a few days ago, but some things get squished between others and sometimes time for documentation to take a break. That said, a quick recap of a busy few days around Christmas time.

Note: Christmas is *sorta* a thing in Japan as a starting point for New Years (which is the big deal). Some people evidently order chicken from a chain resto, others exchange gift, there are Santa decorations around, not much of the religiousness and folktales. Anyhow, this is technically my 3rd straight here at Tsuchida Cottage. The first was pre-Ichiro and i ordered in food and stoked out M and F in law and wife with prezos and established some traditions of sorts with a tiny tree and a roaring fire.

Last year 2020 we had a strange errand to do in a nearby town (concerning an abandoned crumbling house, a missing uncle and other conundrums) coincidentally on Dec. 25. Me, wife and Ichi all got terribly ill :( and with the passing of F-i-L’s mother, the tradition dictated a sedate New Years as well. So this year, i wanted to set new traditions, and holy smokes we did (and of course i took on too much) and show my thanks to in-laws and buddy Mac and his lovely GF. We also invited some friendly ladies to join our festive board.

Anyhow, was several days of prep during which i was *struggling* and then Dec. 23rd was Mae Mae’s rehearsal at our home which was a great chance to use our unique floorplan to full effect with the whole band fitting in easily and i even sat in on drums!

Then Dec. 24th was a big one… i’ll let myself take over for re-cap.

stealth mode and not

Enter in blue, Exit in red #StealthMode #Santa

Just back from my naturalistic Santa Claus performance at the nursery school.

I’m so custom made for this. And at 5 foot 9 with a 32 inch waist, I am a “big guy” 🙂 I told the kids I eat lots of vegetables to keep trim (after i joked that I only eat reindeer)

Each of the students got their own bit of special attention with eye contact, a few kind words, and a present. lots of kids wanted to touch my uniform or my beard as well.

Of course many photos were taken but because of the kids in them, can’t really share them. Soaked in all the dopamine goodness I could.

method actor (and cheeseball)

A few kids cried, our little guy looked at me with a look of bewilderment, all the kids got a special Santa convo and a present & my 2+ months of beard growth allowed me to be truly authentic and bring some joy – indeed, I am truly a method actor :-).

The kids asked some questions but fortunately I had clever answers.

Yes, I will have this gig as long as I want it. #NeighborhoodSanta

Meanwhile back at home

front room, ready for goodtimes
Ryoko doing her elfing

Then on Christmas eve, we wrapped and laid out gifts for Ichiro (after a day of prepping food). He was noticing all the changes in the house with trees and lights and different foods and was wide eyed at it all – and doing the cutest hand gestures to emulate the blinking flicking lights.

calling baba and gigi

Christmas morning, in-laws came over and over hot bevvies with opened gifts. Ergo:

Ryoko and I received matching pyjamas! So warm and cozy and cute. Thrilled.

M-i-L received a puzzle of 4 generations of her (Fujii) family visiting the matriarch at an elder’s home with Aunt, Cousin from Nagasaki, cousin’s 2 little girls, wife and Ichiro in the middle of all the ladies. (recap of outing). We also made a puzzle for great granny, aunt and cousin.

F-i-L received an Adidas track suit made for lounging around (chilly) Japanese houses. We loves to hang at the computer and follow Shogi (a sort of complicated chess) matches and this will comfy and handy for forays outside to check weather and laundry etc.

Ichiro was loaded up but most importantly with a drum set (yeah it seems like i got it for me but really…)

Booking studio sessions tomorrow, pre-order to get signed copies of his debut EP “Flyin’ the Flannel” by Viking Samurai, Ichiro Stanley / papa will be at the merch table with fanzines & headbands

So much fun to set it up and now we have my sorta kit (floor top, high hat, snare) and his in the front room along with piano, baritone ukulele, electric keyboard, and basket of percussion.

Ichiro with mouth fulla orange

Then back to the kitchen… for a final manoeuvres. Kitchen is not my wheelhouse but timely advice from brother Anders and buddy Lance alleviated the anxiety and fortunately magic wife had helped prep most of the stuff the day before (including gravy and eggnog!) and we laid out stuffing (made with homemade chicken stock, mushrooms, baguette, celery, carrot, onion etc), a turkey (which turned out perfect somehow), brussel sprouts (acquisition thereof chronicled elsewhere) with bacon from R’s alma mater, broc/cauli mix, a variety of bevvies, etc.

Snapshots of food follow – self-explanatory (for time being at least):

Buddy Mac came with wine and a pork belly (see above) from his freezer where i shipped the turkey, sausages, and ham. We cooked it on site for the almost-final course.

Ryoko had tracked down some fancy charcuterie too. It all turned out great with pleasing conversation and interestingness as most of the foods were “first time” for attendees.

Oh we used some of my Mom’s “fancy china” and had ordered silverware and cloth napkins for proper table service for 8-1/2 diners (^ see above gallery if curious).

The woodstove was cranking the whole time as was Charlie Brown Christmas music followed by a variety of Joni Mitchell, Cowboy Junkies and Iron and Wine.

Mac and Manami stayed over next door and had breakie (pork belly scramble) and fancy egg nog coffees next morning. Then i collapsed :) Fortunately most the dishes were done night before by elves while i was in bath with Ichi.

Was all so great which is why i am remembering it all here. Pardon brevity, good night.

Diary: washoku, pizza, strudel, tacos, pickles, ramen & more everyday food

washoku (classic Japanese trad dinner) including: sashimi, ohitashi, hiyayako, pickles, etc. (umeboshi in the jar)

Just another food round-up from Tsuchida Cottage. Of course, we are cooking at home, groceries get delivered (and some from garden/yard). We have a little convection oven. Added in a few Japanese words just case PS “washoku” is word for traditional Japanese food – usually fish (grilled or raw) and various side dishes, while “yoshoku” is Japanese-i-fied foreign-inspired food which has become Japanese (i.e. croquettes, om-rice (omelette on rice), hamburg, fried shrimp, spaghetti). Also a few ramen, pizza and other hybrid style meals in here. Carry on. No big deal. 

breakfast set with oranges, muesli, coffee, home-baked bread
house-made ramen with mugi (barley) tea
lunch set with boiled eggs (and hot sauce), avocado, apples, etc
housemade pizza with smoked duck, cheese, mushrooms

Continue reading Diary: washoku, pizza, strudel, tacos, pickles, ramen & more everyday food

Diary: (Yet another) Food round-up from Tsuchida Cottage

Let’s begin with the “standard” Japanese classic dinner with grilled whole fish, picked something (kimchi and pickled onions), miso soup, brown rice and a salad – dressing and shoyu on the side.

Well ya gotta eat, and we do and mostly at home. For the permanent diary of endless goodness, i snap a snap from time to time before we dine. That’s all there is to it. Dig it if you wanna. 

We have a counter-top convex oven here at Tsuchida cottage now and aside for well-documented visits to ramen shops and coffee/cake stops, we eat at home.

Soba noodles
Another Japanese classic: soba (buckwheat) noodles, served cold with a raw egg and mentsuyu (fish-flavoured broth), shredded daikon (radish) and shoyu mixed together and the noodles dipped within and green onions sprinkled

 No doubt lots of folks the world over are getting re-acquainted with their kitchens while experienced cooks share tips and try new things. Indeed, so much sourdough going on in the world!

As such, here’s round-up without much in the way of annotations or context of some recent meals i happened to snap a snap of before digging in.

A variety dinner with sashimi (sawara a kind of mackerel), gaumodoki no takiawase (tofu fritters, daikon, komatsuna soup with fish-broth, salt, sugar, shoyu) and and of course, miso soup and genmai (brown rice), kimchi and shoyu/wasabi of course
A lunch of harusame spring vegetable soup with clear bean noodle with various onigiri rice balls

Continue reading Diary: (Yet another) Food round-up from Tsuchida Cottage

Diary: Homecooking at Tsuchida Cottage

Japanese dinner is usually many small plates and in this case, loads of small plates of vegetables along with the usual rice and miso

No doubt lots of folks the world over are getting re-acquainted with their kitchens while experienced cooks share tips and try new things. Indeed, so much sourdough going on in the world! 

We have a counter-top convex oven here at Tsuchida cottage now and aside for well-documented visits to ramen shops and coffee/cake stops, we eat at home. 

As such, here’s round-up without much in the way of annotations or context of some recent meals i happened to snap a snap of before digging in. 

Brother Bob USN Yokosuka sent a package of US food rations – mostly taco stuff but also tossed in some Twinkies for a laugh. i served one up the Ryoko with tea so she could understand the “american delicacy” :)
celebrating the arrival of all the stuff in the shed
Ryoko’s first taco salad (along with tacos but made the salad to use up broken bits of chips)
a little snack time with the taco chips and Lagunitas beer  from brother
a breakfast variety set
this was at a cafe at some point, some where but i struggle to recall where… oh after a library stop at a tiny cafe, that’s right (yes safe and sequestered)
Ryoko digs in at the tiny cafe after library stop
another dinner of tiny plates with the usual grilled fish, rice, miso, veg and pickled items – this is pretty much our “go-to” usual
“morning set” odds and ends and coffee coffee coffee

Diary: Okayama Regular Life, spring-ish / ramen, friends, singing, coffees, shrine, farm, graves etc.

Dave visits a Café terrace at Night – at “the Market” for a special event (described below) – photo by Ryoko (van Gogh homage)

After all the friends came and went from the wedding festivities in April (including a hospital stay by one intrepid adventurer) and then the Emperor abdicated and new one enthroned, then we rambled through much of May to Toyama, Nagano, Niigata etc. seeing small museums, riding various trains, soaking in a few hot springs, visiting a few pals… oh then of course, doing all the paperwork and procedure for my zairyu card, national insurance and pension programs and setting up our little house with some 2nd hand furniture, a fresh shelf books and hooks and hangers… we set about just “normal life” here. 

Note: Indeed, indulged with a very practical maneouver to acquire a stack of books… this pile is primarily from Vancouver and Vancouver-related by Grant Lawrence, Aaron Chapman, Eve Lazarus, plus Marc Zegans and David Willis… i will document these and many others recently added to collection forthwith(ish). 

What follows are very mediocre snapshots to chronicle various normal-outings, non-events, day-to-day errands, and other otherwise insignificant actions. 

For the record, we live in Tsuchida neighbourhood outside of Okayama city (shi), the capital of Okayama prefecture (ken). A mix of old (pre-war) homes, new homes, rice fields. 20 mins by car or 30 minutes by the fantastic Uno Bus to Okayama Station. Easy to go to Kurashiki or Bizen or the inland sea

I’ve even tried to plant some garden boxes and various seeds for greens. Okaasan (mother) has a much better technique and diligence with gardening. 

Continue reading Diary: Okayama Regular Life, spring-ish / ramen, friends, singing, coffees, shrine, farm, graves etc.

Nepal Relief Dinner and Discussion at Gurkha with Raju and DaveO

NOTE: Recorded the evening before the 7.3 earthquake on 5/11/15.
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/us20002ejl#general_summary

Nepali restauranteur Raju Bhanttari and enthusiast DaveO talk about the challenges and successes of the relief efforts in Nepal and offer ideas to help at a grassroots level.

Topics include:

* Nepal Relief Dinners at Gurkha Himalayan Kitchen on Davie. St.
* Sandeep Giri’s and Gham Power’s “Rebuild with Solar” campaign
* Importance of maintaining awareness and outreach
* Reaching villages where aid is most needed
* Staying positive and optimistic and compassionate
* Also, Yak Tea and mo-mos.

Tiny Steps, Daily. Note links in annotations.

https://life.indiegogo.com/fundraisers/nepal-rebuild-with-sun–2
http://nepalquake.ghampower.com/request-map
http://gurkha.ca/
http://www.yakyeti.ca/